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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas' Tori Hoggard competes in the pole vault invitational Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, during the Tyson Invitational in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. - Photo by Andy Shupe

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas senior All-American pole vaulters Lexi Jacobus and Tori Hoggard -- twin sisters from Cabot -- got the Razorbacks' No. 1-ranked women's track and field team off to a high-flying start.

Jacobus cleared 14 feet, 83/4 inches to win Friday at the Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Center. Hoggard cleared 14-63/4 to take second.

It was the first time the twins had competed in a meet since the USA Championships in June.

"It's always fun to come back and finally be jumping at bars again," said Jacobus, a three-time NCAA champion and 2016 U.S. Olympian. "It's been six months, so that first meet of the season is always kind of a little bit different, but it's exciting to be starting my senior year and giving it a last hurrah.

"I've still got my eye on some records that I'm chasing."

Jacobus cleared 13-5, 13-9, 14-03/4, 14-63/4 and 14-83/4 before missing three attempts at 15-11/2.

"This is my best meet to open the season since my freshman year when I went one centimeter higher," Jacobus said. "So I feel really good about today."

Hoggard had her best mark ever to open the season. She cleared 13-9 and 14-23/4 on her third and final attempts at each height. She cleared 14-43/4 and 14-63/4 on her second attempts before missing three attempts at 14-83/4.

"I took a lot of jumps," said Hoggard, who had 15 attempts overall. "It took me a little bit to get in the game, but then I felt pretty good.

"You go from months and months of just training in practice, so it's nice to get back into meet competition."

Arkansas senior Desiree Freier took third in the pole vault at 14-23/4.

Razorbacks assistant Bryan Compton, who coaches the field events, said Jacobus, Hoggard and Freier all met the NCAA meet qualifying standards.

"It's always good to get qualifying out of the way in the first meet," Compton said. "The pressure's off. Now we can go back and work on things, have a little fun and see where we're at and where we can go."

Arkansas senior Kiara Parker and Jada Baylark, a junior from Little Rock Parkview, went 1-2 in the 60 meters. Parker ran 7.26 seconds and Baylark 7.27.

"I'm pretty pleased," said Arkansas assistant Chris Johnson, who coaches the sprinters. "It's their fastest opener since they've been at Arkansas. I think they can run at least under or right at 7.20. If they do that it will be fantastic."

Payton Chadwick, an Arkansas senior from Springdale Har-Ber and the defending NCAA champion in the 60 hurdles, won the 200 in 23.35 with sophomore Janeek Brown second in 23.51 and Parker third in 23.65.

A highlight for Arkansas' No. 8 men's team was freshman Carl Elliott winning the 60 hurdles in 7.89.

"We got a nice surprise there," Razorbacks men's Coach Chris Bucknam said. "That's a pretty good opener for a freshman."

Arkansas sophomore Hunter Woodhall, an All-American last year on the 1,600 relay last year, won the 600 in 1:18.34.

"We got out of here healthy," Bucknam said. "I think that's the first thing. The second thing is our guys did a good job of preparing.

"This is kind of a rust-buster meet for us because it's the first time they've competed in quite a while. We got some work in, got the competitive juices going. I think that's the main thing right now."

Sports on 01/12/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas pole vaulters go high to start season

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